Students Travel to Boston to Discuss 2014 Iraqi Elections

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Thirteen students traveled to Boston, Mass., during the last weekend of Spring Break to participate in the 2014 Tufts Inquiry event at Tufts’ Institute for Global Leadership. Nichols was the only school present representing Upstate New York. This years’ topic of discussion was the upcoming Iraqi elections.
The event began with a round of speakers. First, two senior members of the State Department shared their thoughts on the possibility for democratic elections to ensure stability in the fractious Middle Eastern nation. The State Department head of Iraq affairs, Anthony Godfrey, expressed his confidence in the Iraqi people, suggesting citizens believed in the values of fair democracy. Undoubtedly, hearing such a dynamic official in the foreign service was a huge inspiration for those in attendance. The mix of professors, college students and high school students, all welcomed the opportunity to hear some inside information shared off the record.
Next to take the mic was Evyenia Sidereas. Sidereas is currently posted as the New England diplomat-in-residence and brought a wealth of experience to the auditorium. She has previously served on the ground in Iraq, serving as a monitor in similar elections. She encouraged current high schools to engage more in their world, suggesting that young Americans should make every attempt to study abroad. The world is changing, becoming smaller. In order to maintain the security and strive for stability on our planet, students must experience various cultures firsthand.
Students from then on worked in small packs. Individual schools sent one or two “delegations” to the 2014 summit. Nichols sent one Saudi Arabian delegation and one delegation representing the various Iraqi minority groups. For three days, students had the opportunity to assume the persona of a native member of one of these two groups. It turned out to be an engaging experiment in diplomacy. Closed door meetings and arrangements forged unlikely alliances; eloquent locution intimidated weaker nations and vaulted minority parties into the halls of power.
With little understanding of just what they were getting themselves in to, Nichols participants were quite pleased with this year’s Tufts Inquiry summit. Looking to next year, a group of returning underclassmen will try to grow Nichols’ vocal presence in committee discussion through improved preparation methods.

Nichols Participants:
Saudi Arabia:
Karim Hassanali
Sara Rimmler
Sam Stark
Jake Zarzecki
David Pfalzgraf
Alex Fisher
Iraqi Minorities Group:
Jason Zhou
Katie Hobika
Carolyn Hoffman
Bryan Karas
Michael Malof
Mikyle Hassanali
Lydia Gavner

Selected Participating Schools:
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Phillips Exeter Academy
Packer Collegiate Institute
Medford High School
Infinity Math, Science and Technology High School

By Alex Fisher ’15

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